Jazz Smugglers Master Workshop

Jazz Smugglers Master Workshop
Click on photo for Jazz Smugglers website

Friday, 25 July 2014


From September onwards we shall run the Workshop for the Jazz Smugglers band and their friends, every two weeks. Sundays at 7.00 Creek end, Smugglers Lane, Bosham po188qp.
It will be quite demanding and will bring in specialist tutors from time to time.

In my view anyway, ok?

This group played together for 16 years.

This tune  is played by Desmond on alto with Brubeck on piano echoing. Brubeck's chords on his solo are downbeat as befits the tune with tension built into the bridge. This song was the anthem of the Depression. Notice how often he replays a phrase and displaces it. Desmonds solo follows the shape of the tune, Brubeck is playing fills in the background not comping. Desmond goes into characteristic repeats of his phrases and uses parts of the tune. Both play the final section, echoing each other, Desmond responding to Brubeck then switching around. Counter point, all the time. Both of them are still downbeat. Finally they play out the last 16 of the tune.

The tension in the group owes much to the airy, light, melodic alto sax and the heavier chord play of Brubeck with tension built into his voicings. It was very painful for him to play fast notes in his right hand after a bad accident damaged his nervous system.

How worthwhile that a group plays hundreds of time together.

Boys would you care to copy this in our workshop one night? Get it spot on and then transfer the technique to some new somgs?


Wednesday, 16 July 2014


There are four people to thank for these results. Phil Hewitt, Arts Editor Chichester Observer, Barry Smith organiser of the Festival, Nigel Budgen manager of Hillier without whose support it would not have been possible, and maybe I had something to do with it. JW
Scroll down to the bottom for an activity list.

For JW reference
Audience sizes. Smallest paid audience was 8, largest was 91. 580 attended 10 gigs.

The PRODUCT is the single most important factor.
All the audiences were members of the general public with a very strong emphasis upon the over 55's. There were very few specialist jazz followers. They came to listen and watch, unlike most jazz events which are used for background music.

The three sell-outs were Quinto, Les Voyageurs, and Maria with Jazz Smugglers. The first two looked like a different kind of jazz act, the other one was backed by a good title and Jazz Smugglers' local reputation.
The failures were the first two gigs; "Watch the Jazz Greats on video". Only 8 bookings for this, dreadful title. The Country gig was also weak with 29 and these two gigs probably suffered also from the fact that this was the first weekend of the Festival and it was not widely known about.
Audiences built up as the month progressed. Many people repeated and came to 2 or more events.

Points for another time.
Take care with scheduling gigs at the beginning and at the end of the period.
Jazz Smugglers as a name was probably over-exposed. It might be noted that 2 Smugglers big concerts needed special measures by way of promotion The third was a sell out. Better to save the Smugglers name for one or two gigs, and just supply unnamed jazz backing for other events such as talks.
The Jazz Smugglers name should generally be under the title. The title is more important.
The advertising road signs leading to Hillier went up late but were very effective.
When jazz is associated with something else, such as a lecture on country life or gardening, the whole thing sells well if the personality is known.
In another Festival event they combined poetry and jazz and it was a success. Neither would have sold on its own.
Promote the notion that people can bring drinks and a picnic with them in each gig.
Think about a true prestige event, high cost, dinner provided and sell tables of 4 for charity.

A small poll was carried out amongst some people who had brought small groups with them asking how they knew of the Hillier Jazz Month initially, how they knew of this particular gig, and whether they had attended another jazz month event beforehand.
The Festival Brochure or Website was the principle means of knowing of the Jazz month mentioned by over half.
Equal second were the Road Signs and the Chichester Observer articles.

Not mentioned by anyone was Facebook, other Event websites, emails, or Village notice Boards. This does not mean they were useless just that they did not feature prominently.
Our Facebook audience is strongly biased towards other jazz musicians, not the general public nor jazz enthusiasts. Jazz Smugglers band page has only 79 Likes and we need 1,000 to make it work. We did boost the important first Facebook post and received no results. We have done this 5 times in the past with no results even when a free ticket was offered.
We added about 23 new email addresses to our audience lists, from the special offers.

We reserved special offers for the gigs which were going to be difficult to sell, when judged by the early booking results. Generally successful results amongst people who know us.

We offered via email 2 4 the price of 1 for the Jazz Greats Smugglers gig to our general mailing list of 300 or so with 18 responses mostly from  people we know.  6% response rate
This gig had a dreaful title and only 8 tickets were sold. But with the emailed complimentary free tickets about 24 people came plus 31 friends of the band, making 63 in all.
Overwhelmingly, the best results are obtained from people who know of us already, and this has always been true. Keep existing customers sold is the main aim.

We offered 2 4 1 to specialised jazz audiences for the Latin Jazz Gig, Quinto. These were supposedly emailed to members of the Portsmouth Jazz Club and the Chichester Jazz club and advertised at Chi college. We had 12 (6 requests) more people from 2 4 1
In the end the event was well sold out (73) at the last minute from the general audience. Sales were shared equally between the Ticket office and Hillier.
Also 6 or so local gardening societies were emailed with 2 4 1 offers for Nigel's Gardening talk without response

To people attending the other concerts (500+) we handed out about 200 tickets offering 2 4 1 for our final Jazz Smugglers concert. This was always going to be difficult to sell because most had already seen the band.
This was very successful with 7 bookings, 14 people. We also emailed this offer to local residents and the band and we had 6 bookings, 12 people resulting. So 26 people (maybe a few more) out of the final audience of 60 used this promotion. Only 9 tickets for this were sold by the ticket office, so concentrating upon our existing loyal audiences worked.

Mailings with free tickets or 2 4 1 to our cold mailings lists did not attract responses.
In the final gig, 7 of the decision makers had been to previous concerts and 5 had not. (The decison makers brought others with them)

Altogether out of 581 people attending events, 93 came through special offers, nearly all for the first Smugglers gig and the last.
Special offers are expensive. 55 people did not pay anything, and the 38 accepting 2 4 1 offers received a total discount of £228. We have no way of guessing how many would have come anyway.
Conclusion. All media need to be used, People need to see it repeatedly and in different places. This is why Road signs work. People constantly are reminded, and the passing audience is huge - probably 100,000 cars pass in a month on the A259 each way. We could think about offering a season ticket to all the gigs.
Promotions work when you need to get out of trouble, but mainly to the people who know you already.

A few tickets, 30, were sold in the first weekend of the Festival opening. They did give a fair indication of the final popularity differences between the bands. Mostly the numbers came in within the final three days before the event. But we had enough indication before then to know which event was going to need special promotion.
In the beginning the ticket office sold most tickets but by the end Hillier was outselling them easily.
When supplying the actual results, and the final accounting the Ticket office was excellent. They did put up a large A1 poster showing all the Jazz months events, but despite efforts to show individual A4 posters there was no response.
There was also a mixed result when asking them for updated audience figures which we needed so as to know which concerts to boost. Generally ok, but a bit sloppy at the edges.
I could probably get up a new poster each week if I took it in to them, but it gets tiresome this way. I'd like to know the breakdown between online bookings and face to face bookings.

There was little apparent difference in audience sizes between all the lowest priced gigs (£8) and the highest (£15). But there was a huge difference in rewards for the players. Les Voyageurs had 90 people at £8, total was £600
Quinto had fewer in the audience, 73, but their revenue total was £1000. Furthermore, Voyageurs quartet earned £144 each while the Quinto trio earned £270 each.
Price does not make a huge difference to sales but it does make a big difference to the rewards. I speculate that it is a very bad error to assume that because you are the cheapest you will sell more as bands are inclined to do. This is a rich area.
I also speculate that Les Voyageurs could have priced themselves at £15 and found an audience of 75, as big as Quinto.
It is the Product which counts, and its relative apparent merits against the others.
Discounts. My personal view is that it is pointless offering discounts for senior citizens. It does not pull any more sales, it just reduces revenue by a lot. In this area they are rich. They are not shy of asking for a discount at the door, and you can give it to them then, say £2.


We abandoned the usual yellow background to save printing ink in favour of Red White and Black.
The road signs need maximum type size and minimal detail. The first ones were too small,
They need positioning where the cars slow down at roundabouts and T junctions on the roadside leading towards the venue.
I suggest for the future, adding two sheets of freestanding A2 ply, positioned either side of roadside posts and clipped together, designed to take 4 x A4 upright posters to be done on a domestic printer. Not ideal, but cheap...
Posters. A3 posters were printed by Hillier in-store. Another time a simple template design would be useful, with the text able to be copied direct from the first paragraph of the press release.


This started months ago with a luncheon with Phil Hewitt the Editor of the Chi Observer , Andrew and myself where we discuss the following year.
Before the Festival I asked Phil about story length, pic resolution size etc. Then we produced 10 press stories, one per event, each to 200 words long with a high res picture. All sent off together. Another time, make the 1st paragraph copy more exciting, (savage percussion, heartrending vocals, lightning riffs, etc etc) to be used also in the posters.
We did ask for big coverage of our final event and the Editor did us proud with a full page and two pics.

Nothing but praise for the bands, all played to a high standard, all easy to work with. No quibbles about money, they agreed on 2 4 1 offers, they all filled in contracts on time.They gave me some copy but it needed expanding from their websites. Pics came mostly from websites.
Performances were first class, and universally enjoyed. I heard no complaint from anyone and a huge amount of genuine praise and warmth.

WHATG HAD TO BE DONE. Activity list.
9/5 Listings sent
5/5 Website done
6/5 Main press briefing done phil and barry
7/5 Rehearsal done
7/5 downland mag done for july
7/5 a4 leaflet done
8/5 postcard size leaflets done
9/5 road signs done
10/5 press story hillier month done
11/5 may 30th promotion concert press story done
12/5 press stories country, videos done
13/5 press story ramblers, williamson done
13/5 listing for bosham fete done
14/5 press stories 2 cubana bop, maria sings
15/5 press stories 3 nigel budgen, french gypsy band workshop
16/5 press story chicago 9
17/5 press story Interplay
17/5 set up ticket sales reports
17/5 meeting hillier
17/5 press story for broadbent and sidewinder
18/5 meeting nigel geoff video
19/5 photos update and finalised for Phil
19/5 blog site created.
19/5 collecting photos and sending to phil
19/5 nigel giving 3xa4s 2 x a3's and leaflets to ticket offiuce
20/5 pursuing photos for Phil
20/5 finalised photos Phil
21/5 Blog site published to Facebook and website, reques to workshop people to share it and link to it.
20/5 Links to new blog site from smugglers blog, and from enthusiasts website.
22/5 prepared and mailed request to bands to Facebook us
22/5 prepared draft tickets
23/5 prepare press release for blog asked kevin barber to share Facebook
24/5 posters with ticket office
24/5 tickets in hand for printing
25/5 prepare Jazz video press release for blog/ band to share it Fbook.
26/5 planning website listings, contact Barry.
27/5 listed on wherecanwego /applied visitchichester
27/5 tested mailchimp. no.
28/5 posted details festival and our gigs on West sussex info site
29/5 updated full mailing list and de duped
30/5 chichester concert
31/5 pick up tickets
31/5 prepare mailing for free tickets sent to band.
31/5 mail to smugglers lane residents. (28) and friends list(30)
31/5 meeting abigail charity
1/6 check tesco/js/village for poster sites
1/6 meet nigel tie up details.
2/6 cards for tesco.
2/6 ticket offers to Chi Obs staff.
3/6 preparing promotion, asking band
4/6 First mailings
5/6 Final mailings, correcting addresses
5/6 Facebook ad created.
5/6 cards for village boards
5/6 design and print small cards for village notice boards
5/6 design and print A4 this coming weekend posters for Hillier
6/6 posters delivered to Hillier. A4 poster for Nigel's talk designed and submitted for appro
7/6 picking up road signs, briefing Bob
7/6 posting on to village boards Bosham, Southbourne, Mundham, cards Westbourne, Emsworth
7/6 new page Facebook, and boosted £5. One day.
8/6 day off!
9/6 tidying up posters/tesco/hillier displays
9/6 briefing Bob Downe positioning new road posters 2
9/6 band joining instructions Sunday.
10/6 light day. song lists etc.
13/6 design 241 and bus cards
14/6 241 and bus cards printed, check road signs
14/6 Facebook ad £6
16/6 promotion, blogs, facebook for next weekends gigs 241 card
17/6 mailing portsmouth, chi coll/chichester jazz clubs for terry
19/6 prepare promotion blogs/poster for quinto/maria
21/6 new poster for maria hillier. promote quinto mailing. terry to promote.
24/6 emailed gardening club secretaries
24/6 Facebook most friends for terry's gig, and asked them to promote
25/6 prepared 2 4 1 tickets for remaining gigs
25/6 Advised other bands on their promotion
25/6 advised bands on set up and payments.
26/6 prepared double band poster for jul 4 5
26/5 maria on facebook Festival page
26/6 prepare music/history of songs
30/6 promotion of nigel's night sent out 2 4 1
30/6 facebook nigel's event
30/6 business cards for desert island discs
1/7 correct blues band material for hillier
1/7 bosham and bognor fetes, organise
4/7 prepare july 12 poster
5/7 new posters, road signs, facebook, blog, new page and event. post new signs
7/7 emailed most list 2 4 1 interplay
14/7 analysis of results
15/7 draft report on results

John. 14 July 2014